Elbow Up Youth Baseball

Protecting Young Arms in Youth Baseball

April 19, 2021 Kevin Burke
Elbow Up Youth Baseball
Protecting Young Arms in Youth Baseball
Show Notes
Every week I write an email and record a podcast discussing how we can make youth baseball better for our kids. If you would like to receive it directly in your inbox, subscribe now. Read this week’s email below, or listen to the audio version with more detail above.

In my last episode I was extremely blunt about how youth Coaches are Ruining Young Arms.

I knew it had the potential to be a controversial post, but instead of controversial, it seemed to have resonated with thousands of parents and coaches across the country - so I decided to do a follow up with some information on how to protect these young arms.

In less than a week, it’s already my second most downloaded episode since I’ve been doing the show. It’s also the most shared on social with more than 500 shares, more than 1,500 comments, and more than 3,000 reactions - on Facebook alone!

99.9% of everyone that commented or responded agreed with my message, which is great news for the future of arm care! Now we just have to keep the momentum going, and continue to shine the light on this epidemic.

I also plan to do additional episodes where I interview professional coaches and sports medicine doctor’s to discuss at a more granular level. I already have an SEC pitching coach and SEC team physician (from different schools) lined up to appear on the show.

If you’re not subscribed, do so now for free, and I’ll send you a quick email when those are published!

After reading and responding to hundreds of comments, emails, and messages, here’s a few additional thoughts regarding arm health in young baseball players.

What About the Parent’s Responsibility?

The most common comment in response was that parents are more to blame. They should step up and not allow coaches to continue overusing their kids.

While I agree with this in theory, here’s why I’m targeting coaches.

Coaches are the ones in a position of authority. Coaching a team of children (yes, that’s what they are) is an enormous responsibility, and not one we should take lightly.

Coaches are the ones making out the lineup. I may have been influenced by parents a time or two in my early coaching days, but I’m the one that penciled in the lineup - not a parent.

As coaches, we’re supposed to know better. A parent literally hands their kid over to us for many hours every single week. It’s our responsibility to keep them healthy and safe.

Now, parents do play a major role. Parents should not stand idly by while coaches abuse young arms.

As I mentioned in the last episode, there’s a way to handle parent-coach communication, and I would ALWAYS start with handling this like adults and away from the field.

But if a conversation about arm health and overuse doesn’t work, you must put your foot down. If that means finding a new team, then so be it.

It’s Not Just Pitching

There are many more factors that should go into keeping an arm safe and healthy than just pitch counts on game day. Other throws matter too! For example, catchers are at high risk for elbow problems as well

Here’s a few things to keep in mind to maximize arm health and minimize injury risk:

Understand what the kid does during the week. Does he take a pitching lesson? I’m not a fan of pitching lessons during the season for ‘most’ kids, but for some it’s okay. As a coach, get to know your players’ routine. Talk to the parents

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